The first Donkey-Assisted Therapy Centre

May 12 2017. views 3390

Mannar which was once called ‘Donkey Town’ is a city with a large population of donkeys. Although these innocent animals were once a symbol of Mannar, eventually they were isolated from the livelihoods of people. But several years later, donkeys have once again commenced duties to provide therapeutic assistance to differently-abled children. This is through the Donkey-Assisted Therapy Centre which was recently established in Mannar under the auspices of the Minister of Wildlife, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera.

Expressing his views about this initiative, Jeremy Liyanage, Director of Bridging Lanka (Ltd.) and the brainchild of this concept said that there were two groups of donkeys in Mannar. 


“There were those who were here before the war and those who came after the war. Back in the day, people had a huge bond with donkeys. They were the economic fabric of Mannar and people used to travel daily to buy donkeys etc. But with the war, people were displaced and this connection between donkeys and the people died down. Now it has come to a point where people think that donkeys are useless resources. But we wanted to initiate a concept to make them more useful than they actually are. Under the Bridging Lanka initiative one of the projects was to rehabilitate donkeys in Mannar and make productive use of them so that they will be accepted and loved by the community.”

Speaking further, he said that the recently established Donkey-Assisted Therapy Centre is supported by the Donkey Sanctuary in UK and they have their branches throughout Europe. 


“Here we have trained people from the Donkey Sanctuary in UK and India. In addition to that there are local veterinary surgeons as well. At the moment we are working in collaboration with the Mannar Association for Rehabilitation of Differently-Abled people (MARDAP). This will become the first feral donkey-assisted therapy centre in Asia. There will be various activities focused at giving more exposure to the children and improving their physical and emotional well-being. Any child from three and a half years onwards could visit our centre and seek therapy.”


Kamanthi Wickramasinghe

A psychology graduate who eventually became a journalist to be a voice for unheard voices. A proud Sri Lankan - Thalassophile - Travel fan - Nature lover - Chocoholic - Extraordinarily loud - Frequent laughaholic. Follow me on Instagram - @kamzylifeTM or FB – Kamanthi Wickramasinghe


  1. E.H.Pemaratne says:

    Our PM is struggling for a constitutional amendment but does not see what he can do without such a cumbersome effort. He should think of things that can be done without waiting for such a thing until it is done perhaps if possible. Do we want to a constitutional amendment to 1. Fix cadres for every government institution including boards and authorities. 2. to answer public letters without compelling the people to travel to government offices contributing to congestion by about 15%. 3. do we want to introduce a school system that provides equal opportunities to all children preventing about 40,000 students daily to Colombo passing 100 of schools. 4.take quick action and reorganize the police service to provide closer police coverage to all settlements 5 To take over all 40,000 illicit fire arms which contribute to crimes immensely When these are considered PM is speaking without a program to uplift the country but just give way to foreign powers keeping in line with his liberal democratic thinking. a thinking for the sake of ism.

  2. malik says:

    These are the Kind of Projects the Government Must fund and support in growth. Worth all the money spent which benefits our citizen's. Rather than wasting millions on luxury cars to benefit a few.

  3. Sri Lankan says:

    Looks like these donkeys are better and much reliable than the goons at GMOA! Better graduate the donkeys as doctors as they seem to be having a brain and a heart!!!

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